Many have been giggling about the thought that anyone would ingest disinfectant cleaning products. However, a note from Reckitt Benckiser Group – the manufacturer of Lysol – is a reminder of the need for proper labeling and carefully worded product usage information.
In the US, consumer cleaning products are required to meet labeling requirements as established through the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) regulations and administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The FHSA requires that the point-of-purchase label informs consumers about the potential hazards of exposure, which product ingredients contribute to those hazards, how to appropriately handle and store the product to guard against risk, and what type of first aid would need to be administered in case of ingestion or other improper usage.
In the case of Lysol and other disinfecting cleaning products, such warnings are necessary in that the products are toxic if ingested and ingestion is a reasonably foreseeable accident that could hurt the purchaser, user, or others, including young children.
In some cases, the required notices are extensive. The need for so many warnings and detailed product information can effect packaging design. Labels must be large enough for the warnings to be legible, even when the manufacturer may prefer to emphasize other elements of the product (e.g., efficacy against contaminants, ease of use, scent).
For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s research on US Industrial & Institutional Cleaning Chemicals and Global Industrial & Institutional Cleaning Chemicals, as well as US Labels, Global Labels, and other elements of the packaging industry.